Aging & Geriatrics
Basic InformationLatest News
Many Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use PotHigher Education Won't Help Preserve the Aging Brain: StudyLullaby Effect: Music Can Speed Your Way to Sleep, Study FindsHigh School Football Doesn't Affect Brain in Middle Age, Study SaysYour Zip Code Could Help or Harm Your Brain4 in 10 Adults Over 50 Consult Online Reviews When Picking a DoctorHealthy Living in Middle Age Really Pays Off in Senior YearsWill High-Protein Diets Help the Middle-Aged Build Muscle?Loneliness in Mid-Life Linked to Higher Odds for Alzheimer'sDrug Used in Cancer Patients Might Help Treat Alzheimer'sExercise Boosts Blood Flow to Brain, Keeping it SharpFurry Friends: 1 in 10 Older U.S. Adults Has Adopted a 'Pandemic Pet'Nearly All Seniors Take Meds That Raise Their Odds of FallingSome Folks Do Age Slower Than Others1 in 3 Older Thyroid Patients Takes a Med That Can Interfere With TestsVision Problems Are On the Decline for American SeniorsNew Guidelines Mean Nursing Home Residents Can Hug Their Families AgainMany More Older Americans Willing to Get COVID Vaccine: PollAlzheimer's Patients Are Being Given Too Many MedsMost Older Americans Need Hearing Checks, But Many Aren't Getting ThemThe Skinny on Wrinkle-Free SkinScientists Gain Insight Into Genetics of GlaucomaMediterranean Diet Could Keep Aging Brains SharpAlzheimer's May Strike Women and Men in Different WaysAHA News: Black, Hispanic Families Hit Hardest by DementiaWhy Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-FreeNew Hope for Better Treatments Against Macular DegenerationToo Little Sleep Could Raise Your Dementia RiskWhy Adding on a Few Pounds as You Age Might Be Good for You1 in 5 Older Americans Lack Space to 'Isolate at Home' If COVID StrikesNo Gym Required: How Seniors Can Exercise During LockdownFrustrations Mount for U.S. Seniors Seeking Access to COVID VaccinesAHA News: Keeping Your Brain Sharp Isn't About Working More PuzzlesAphasia Affects Brain Similar to Alzheimer's, But Without Memory LossWeight Training Benefits Older Women, Men Equally, Study ShowsGet Fit in Middle Age to Boost Your Aging Brain'Stepped' Approach to Exercise Can Help With Arthritic KneesOlder and Getting Surgery? Get Fit BeforehandHow to Talk to Your Doctor About Arthritis PainHigh-Dose Vitamin D Won't Prevent Seniors' Falls: StudyCould Dirty Air Help Speed Alzheimer's?Delirium May Be Only Sign of Severe COVID in Elderly: StudyMost Americans Over 50 Would Get COVID Vaccine: PollSitting Raises Women's Odds for Heart FailureAmid Lockdowns, Online Exercise Classes Help Seniors Feel Less AloneWhen Your Spouse Gripes About Aging, It Might Harm Your HealthUpbeat Outlook Could Shield Your BrainStaying Active as You Age Not a Guarantee Against DementiaFading Sense of Smell Could Signal Higher Death Risk in Older AdultsExercise Boosts Physical, Mental Well-Being of Older Cancer Survivors
LinksSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Many Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use Pot

HealthDay News
by By Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 3rd 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Aging potheads are now past 50 and still puffing away, but new research shows that many don't disclose this to their doctors.

Folks who use marijuana for medical reasons are more likely to tell their doctors about it than recreational users. Still, just a fraction of medical marijuana users opened up about their use, the study found.

"Older adults may worry about how doctors would respond, as stigma about cannabis use as a psychoactive substance is still prevalent," said study author Namkee Choi. She is the Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.

This don't-ask, don't-tell scenario can be fraught with risk, Choi noted.

"It is really important to discuss with your doctor/s who know your preexisting conditions and medications that you are taking, and make a decision [about cannabis use] that will increase your safety and decrease any potential adverse effects," Choi stressed.

Of more than 17,000 Americans aged 50 and older who took part in the 2018 and 2019 U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly one in 10 used cannabis over the past year. Close to 20% used it for a medical reason, such as pain relief or to treat depression. Medical marijuana users were more likely to use it more frequently, with 40% using marijuana between 200 and 365 days a year.

Older cannabis users had higher rates of mental illness, alcohol use disorder and nicotine dependence compared with their peers who did not use cannabis, but medical users were less likely to have alcohol problems than recreational users, the study found.

Those using cannabis for health reasons were more likely than recreational users to buy it at a medical dispensary and less likely to get it for free or at a party, the study authors noted.

While marijuana use is legal in a growing number of states, residents in a state where cannabis use is not yet legalized may keep quiet due to fear of arrest, Choi added.

The findings were published April 29 in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

This study taps into a big issue, said Dr. Scott Krakower, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

"We want people to be as honest and open with their doctor as possible," he said. "Screening for substance abuse is important, and doctors need to ask about marijuana use in a non-judgmental way."

If you don't ask, you won't know, and marijuana use is also associated with other risky behaviors, Krakower said. If you are using it for pain or to get a better night's sleep, there may be something more effective out there, he added.

"Your doctor can't help if he or she doesn't have all the relevant information," Krakower said.

Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., CEO of START Treatment & Recovery Centers in Brooklyn, N.Y., also encouraged people to discuss their cannabis use with their doctor.

"You can even just ask about medical marijuana use in general," suggested Brown, who was not involved with the new study. "Unless there is a robust conversation, there is a risk of adverse events because of drug-drug interactions," he said. For example, taking sedatives to sleep and using cannabis may cause too much sleepiness.

More information

Learn more about how marijuana can affect your health at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCES: Namkee Choi, PhD, Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair, gerontology, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, University of Texas, Austin; Scott Krakower, DO, child and adolescent psychiatrist, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y; Lawrence S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, CEO, START Treatment & Recovery Centers, Brooklyn, N.Y.; The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, April 29, 2021

328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203

powered by centersite dot net